Day 7 – Consistency Builds Endurance
Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.
– Hebrews 12:1-2
Many years ago, I wanted to start investing into my long-term health, so I decided I wanted to run. I saw so many others running around my town, and it looked like they loved it! Short of throwing on an old pair of sneakers and hitting the road, I asked my neighbor Dan, who was an avid runner, if he had any advice for me as a beginner. Apart from the advice of getting good running shoes (he was right!), he told me one thing: start with a mile for two weeks, then every two weeks add a 1/4 mile, and so on, until I reach my target distance. When I told him that I thought I could run more than that, he told me something that I never forgot—consistency builds endurance. He was right.
Such is the reminder that is given us in Hebrews. If we are to run the race that is set before us—citizens of a heavenly kingdom here on earth as ambassadors for Christ for the sake of God’s kingdom purposes—there seems to be a couple things we can do to build endurance during our “run.”
One, let us ALSO lay aside every weight and sin. In addition to having and giving faith to God, we are to intentionally and forcefully, at times, put away, to cast away anything and everything that would keep us indebted to our life before Christ. The Apostle Paul in his New Testament letters was so vocal about reminding his readers of the incompatibility of our lives BEFORE Christ and our lives AFTER Christ, thus the words that we are now NEW creatures and the OLD has passed away. He so desperately wanted us to know that we are now to live in the reality of our new lives. Just as the writer of Hebrews intimates here, we are to lay aside those parts of our lives that have, perhaps, weighed down our progress towards Jesus; those lifestyle sins that became part of the norm—time to lay them aside. Holiness matters. We all know the dangers of not repenting of our sin, no matter how immaterial we may think they are—we will always find ourselves back at the same place needing to deal with it in the face of God’s holiness.
Two, look to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith. A leadership mantra that was once popular said something to the effect of ‘start with the end in mind.’ For the most part I agree with that. When it comes to our faith in Christ, this is very appropriate. When I started running, there were days I dreaded it. I didn’t want to get up early, or carve out time during my busy schedule, three times a week, every week. If I’m being honest, there were weeks I wanted to quit. But the thing that kept me motivated was the goal—I wanted to run in a race. The town’s 5K.
Everyone, Jesus is our goal. I want to be like Him, I want to see Him, I want to hear the words, "Well done, good and faithful servant” from Jesus’ lips. I only have to keep Jesus in my focus to continue running the race. This is the reason why we press on until that day.
“I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God IN Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:14).
I ran the 5K. I ran many 5K’s. And for years, I basically ran 5K’s about 3 times a week for exercise. Dan was right. Consistency builds endurance.
Lord, help us to be consistent in our pursuit of You in 2021. May we lay aside, cast off whatever hinders us from our walk with Jesus. Give us a distaste for the things of the world, for sinful desires, for that which ensnares us from realizing our freedom in You. Help us to fully realize the beauty and power of life in Your Spirit. Keep our eyes focused on Jesus, who is the author and perfecter of our faith. May we desire nothing more than Jesus and to be more like Him. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Ministry Director, Christian Union Gloria Law (Harvard Law School)
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